Chipotle's "Cultivating Thought Author Series," or: Where to Read Malcolm Gladwell on a Cup

Chipotle's "Cultivating Thought" cupsEXPAND
Chipotle's "Cultivating Thought" cups
Chipotle/Business Wire

No doubt you have, at least once, walked into a place like Chipotle, alone, without a book, without a magazine, without a smartphone.  And if you wished then that you had something to do while eating your burrito - like, say, read a short thought piece from a famous writer or comedian - you can now thank Jonathan Safran Foer for arranging exactly that.

The author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Eating Animals was confronted with that very situation a few years ago ("I really just wanted to die with frustration," he told Vanity Fair) and thus suggested to Chipotle CEO Steve Ells that the chain include "some kind of interesting text" on its packaging to save future customers from a similar predicament.

Et voila: Chipotle cups and bags now come with original short pieces by several writers and comedians, including Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison and Sarah Silverman. Foer selected the contributors to the project, which the chain calls its "Cultivating Thought Author Series."

The pieces touch on a variety of topics and all are structured as two-minute reads (Gladwell's piece is titled "Two-Minute Barn-Raising," Silverman's is a "Two-Minute Index" and so on). Given how long it takes to eat one of Chipotle's enormous burritos, though, maybe they should have put Moby Dick on there instead.

In explaining his participation in this project, Foer told Vanity Fair he was interested in "800,000 Americans of extremely diverse backgrounds having access to good writing. A lot of those people don't have access to libraries, or bookstores. Something felt very democratic and good about this." You might not have a library nearby, but there's always a Chipotle. Or, the Internet: In case you don't make it to Chipotle anytime soon, the chain has all of the pieces on its website here.

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